Let me be transparent at the outset of this reflection and tell you that I have not come to any hard conclusions on what we are about to explore. I would invite feedback as part of a professional dialogue to help us examine this issue.
Who Should Train?
When implementing programs or new processes who should train the team(s)? The consultant/coach or the team leader? Companies spend large sums of money to implement new software, systems, culture or processes. Usually the biggest part of that expense is the change management guidance and training requried to put everyone on the same page so that implementation moves forward smoothly.
Training and implementation is a big part of the expense and often engagements will last several years depending on the size and complexity of the process, software or program being adopted. I have been a part of that type of process and certainly in the Oil and Gas industry this is a real money maker. But conversations during those engagements and certainly my own "after action reviews" of each of these engagements produced some nagging questions about the vaule of this approach.
Two Dynamics At Play
There are two dynamics at play in a typical coaching engagement; revenue earned and sucessful sustainability. These two concepts are at odds with each other. Revenue earned from a coaching perspective means extending the engagement as long as possible. Sucessful continuity means getting your client to stand on their own as soon as possible and "own" the process for themselves. You see how one plays against the other.
It was with my work around change management that I began to wonder about a different approach to coaching and sustainability. Those of you in change managment will know, the immediate supervisor is critical in the change process and they carry significant influence. Teams take their lead from their immediate supervisor. The support of this group of leaders is crucial. But what if we took a different approach and "trained the leaders" and let them train their teams? Would that decrease engagement time and boost sustainability?
Can You Decrease Implementation and Boost Sustainability?
Look at it this way; as an employee if your boss says you and your team need to take this training around implementation of a new "whatever," you do it. If your boss takes that training with you does it carry more weight? If your boss trains you does that carry even more weight? Which approach do you think will enhance sustainability?
Prosci and other change management organizations have done extensive research on this issue. "If the boss thinks its important then I think it is important." This is one of the key findings in every bit of research I have read on the subject. It makes me wonder if this principle can be extrapolated a bit further? "If the boss thinks this training is important, I do to. If the boss trains me will I pay more attention and be more apt to adopt the new system than if someone else trains me?" If research finds that immediate supervisor support shortens the length of adoption time, shouldn't immediate supervisors training thier teams shorten it even further?
Some food for thought for the new year. I hope to hear back from our exensive pool of expertise on this question. Performance Leadership - Think About It!